CavanKerry Press Authors in the Community: Paola Corso Interview with Baron Wormser
Since its inception, CavanKerry Press has been committed to community. It’s outreach programs include Giftbooks, Waiting Room Reader, Bookshare, New Jersey Poetry Out Loud, and The Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching. And in return for CavanKerry Press authors getting their books published, they offer free talks and workshops to under-served readers in their communities and free books to those who can’t afford them. They are also committed to sharing information with fellow writers to build a supportive and nurturing literary environment.
In a new series of interviews on community outreach, CavanKerry Press author Paola Corso will speak with other press authors about these projects and how they turn words into acts of community.
In this interview, Paola speaks with Baron Wormser, author and co-author of 14 books, most recently, the poetry collection, Unidentified Sighing Objects with CavanKerry Press. He teaches in the Fairfield University MFA Program and at his home in Montpelier, Vermont. One of his offerings is a generative poetry workshop he calls, “Open the Doors.”
Paola Corso: The title of your workshop, “Open the Doors,” sounds like a workshop for creating new possibilities. Tell me about the kinds of doors that participants have walked through.
Baron Wormser: Participants write new work on the spot. I use poems as prompts to get them engaged. We talk about the poem for a while and then they leap from the poem into their own imagination. I have found that a poem-prompt offers enough structure to lessen anxiety—what do I write about and how?–while avoiding being prescriptive. The discussion beforehand also helps participants to situate themselves in the realm of the actual—the poem in front of them—and the possible—the poem they may write. There is no predicting, of course, what will come out. What’s especially interesting is that often poems arise that speak to very intense, personal situations that the participant has either not written about or tried to write about but not succeeded. Writing to a prompt often opens the door to material that previously has been suppressed or repressed.
Paola Corso: How about an example of a poem-prompt?